Ancient Greece forged the foundation block of modern western society; from our alphabet to the democracies we sometimes pride ourselves on. Whilst the influence is not always entirely tangible, much of what we take for granted today can have its roots traced back along the long road to Athens.
Having already taken the time to look at slots inspired by Ancient Egypt and the Vikings, it feels about time that our great forebearers in the Mediterranean and Aegean are given the credit that they deserve for the influence that they have passed on to some of our favourite slots.
When embracing Ancient Greece the painting palette that slots designers get to dip their brushes into always appear to be brighter and more varied in colour than the one used when Vikings go Berserk or when Egypt displays its riches.
Sun, sea and mountains, along with the classical architecture define a landscape that can often have the best of all worlds. Unlike the Egyptians the Greeks had more than just sand to play around with and whilst the terrain may not be quite as daunting or spectacular as a Norwegian Fjord, with a country divided into 1400 islands and a mainland filled with mountains you have similarly mutual respect for land and sea.
If they weren’t off waging war, taking to the high seas or establishing many of the basic principles of modern mathematics, the Ancient Greeks were telling stories. We know so much more about this civilisation than we do the Egyptians because much of it was written down for us to enjoy.
Philosophy, drama and epic poetry have all been passed down and it is the later that has helped to form much of what we know and recognise about Ancient Greece today. Thanks to writers, such as Homer, Aristophanes and Sophocles the stories that were told over 2 and a half thousand years ago are as fresh to us as they were to the audiences of Ancient Greece. All this time later and we keep finding new ways of telling and re-imagining those incredible stories that have helped to shape our perceptions of the people who lived there all those years ago.
The Gods, the children of the gods and the occasional mere mortals who have appeared in the pages of The Iliad and the Odyssey are etched in our minds and as such they fill the reels of modern day slots just as frequently, if not more frequently, than modern day celebrities.
Hercules, Zeus, Medusa, Jason and his Argonauts and many more names from the pages of those epic poems are peppered around slot games in almost every online casino and all this comes without a loss in the quality of slot that is on offer. Part of the reason for this has to be the variety of the characters and the powers that each of them has, allowing designers to work with something fun and instantly recognisable. This leads to slots that don’t just look good, but slots that come with some genuinely brilliant features.
Number 1 on the list of things to expect from slots inspired by Ancient Greece is lightning. If Zeus is involved, you can guarantee that he will be bringing a pointy lightning bolt with him. Tridents are also likely to make an appearance, especially if the sea and Poseidon have anything to do with it. Togas are also going to be pretty high up on the list of things you’ll see. In terms of bonuses, I will be disappointed if there isn’t one that lands you in Hades at some point. You can also expect to see random features play an important part in quite a few games, given the random and often cruel whims of the Gods.
Hopefully there will be a sprinkling of mythic creatures, from the stone-cold Medusa to the winged horse Pegasus. As for symbols I would be expecting to see weapons, armour, buildings, vases, grapes and plenty of letters. Minotaurs, lions, laurel wreaths and the occasional mermaid are also likely to make an appearance at some point.
Before I begin the list I want to make clear that along with describing the slot we will go as far as we can to contextualise it in the grand scheme of Greek mythology. This will mean that some reviews will needs less description than others as I will try not to repeat context where there is an overlap.
Rise of Olympus
Heaven, Hell and High Seas all make a cut in this celebration of Greek Gods and manliness. Released last year by Play ‘n’ Go, the Rise of Olympus slot is big bold and ambitious. It centres around three of the big guns: Zeus, Poseidon and Hades, with each of the Gods bringing you different random features depending on which one takes up residence at the side of the reels. Zeus, the King of the Gods, the God of Thunder and Lightning, destroys sets of symbols and gives you more chances to win. Poseidon, God of the Sea and the Waves uses his trident to throw extra Wilds onto the reels and Hades, Lord of the Underworld, transforms one set of symbols into another. What you have with this slot is a winning formula that Play ‘n’ Go like to trot out every now and then, one that can be traced all the way back to Viking Ruin Craft and Moon Princess. The grid is huge, the Gods are huge and the features that can be triggered are so varied that it is hard to find much to criticise here.
Demi God II 15 Edition
The Demi-Gods series has clearly been a huge success for Spinomenal as we are now entering, what I believe is the 5th incarnation of the franchise, with more than 1 version of Demi-Gods II proving that for Spinomenal Ancient Greece is a winning formula. Whilst I would have to concede that Demi-Gods III is actually the best slot in the franchise, it focuses on the Norse Gods and not the Greek ones and as such a case could be made for any of the 3 Demi-Gods II slots, which are all very similar. In this instance I have plumped for the Demi God II 15 Edition slot, but wouldn’t argue against the other 2 slots that share its name. Hermes, Ares, Aphrodite, Hades and Zeus all make an appearance, which means that this slot is branching out into more varied Greek God territory. Aphrodite, the god of love, beauty, pleasure, passion and procreation is suitably represented as is Ares, the Greek god of war and Hermes the god of trade, heralds, merchants, commerce, roads and much more. Again you have a multitude of features in a slot that would score even higher with a reduction in the house edge.
The Divine Fortune slot is a fair age nowadays but still manages to stand that test of time. The slot is peppered with icons from Greek Mythology, from Medusas and Minotaurs to lightning bolts and a Pegasus or two. And it is the Pegasus that is arguably the most important element in this slot. It is your Wild symbol and they also award re-spins, during which the Pegasus symbol will move to another reel and give you another chance to try and land a winning combination. There is also a chance that you can fill reels with Wild symbols during those re-spins. Pegasus was (as we all know) an immortal winged horse. But did you know that it was also one of the two children of Poseidon and Medusa. I’ll write more about Medusa later, but for the sake of Pegasus, all you need to know right now is that when Perseus cut off Medusa’s head, Pegasus sprang forth, along with his brother Chrysaor (a man with a golden sword) from the would left in her neck. Later in life Pegasus was given the job of carrying Zeus’s lightning bolts, and as a rewards he was turned into a constellation of stars.
Medusa’s Golden Gaze
Medusa was the terrifying woman who had snakes for hair. She could turn people to stone and was hunted by warriors, the only successful one being Perseus. That’s the story most of us know but there is a whole lot more to Medusa than that section of her story tells us. At one time Medusa was a beautiful young woman who pledged her allegiance to the god Athena. This meant that she had to remain chaste and pure, something Athena required of her followers and something that Medusa managed despite the rampant interest that her male admirers showed her. Things got tricky when Poseidon showed an interest. Medusa shunned his advances but Poseidon wouldn’t take no for an answer took what he wanted despite her protests. Athena found out and couldn’t punish Poseidon because he was too powerful so instead chose to punish Medusa and sealed her fate by turning her into the monster that we know her for today. Utterly brutal and utterly unfair, Medusa deserves a little more compassion than we might has previously given her. As for Medusa’s Golden Gaze, the slot, it was brought to us by 2BY2 Gaming and has to be considered one of their very best. You get Wilds and Free Spins and those Free Spins come with a host of additional features. It looks good and offers value for money, with a reasonable house edge.
Hercules High and Mighty
The Hercules High and Mighty slot was developed by WMS and is a slot that requires the kind of bravery that only the likes of the demi-god himself was so well known for. Heracles, the Son of Zeus was famous for the 12 Labours he had to perform in order to atone for a moment of horrific violence that saw him overcome with madness, which led to the death of his wife and child. His labours were as follows:
Slay the Nemean lion.
Slay the nine-headed Lernaean Hydra.
Capture the Ceryneian Hind.
Capture the Erymanthian Boar.
Clean the Augean stables in a single day.
Slay the Stymphalian birds.
Capture the Cretan Bull.
Steal the Mares of Diomedes.
Obtain the girdle of Hippolyta.
Obtain the cattle of the monster Geryon.
Steal the apples of the Hesperides.
Capture and bring back Cerberus.
After all that capturing, slaying and stealing you’d think that Hercules would want a rest but with a Golden Fleece still to be found whilst hanging about with Jason and his Argonauts, things had only just got started. Hercules High and Mighty doesn’t quite bring all that lore together but what it does do is offer a significantly reduced house edge for those who can afford to play at higher stakes. This is the central feature and is one that has to come with a warning for anyone who wants to trigger it without having the bankroll to support the increased wagers.
Story of Hercules
The Story of Hercules slot is another from Spinomenal and another on this list to take on the might of Hercules. You don’t need the back story so let’s get straight into the slot. This slot is very similar to the Demi God slots but, in this instance it comes along with a much more favourable house edge, giving you the best from those slots with much better value for money. The 12 labours are not there but there are 4 different Free Spins features to play though and a whole host of other random features.
Secrets of Atlantis
The story of Atlantis has been attributed by Plato as a minor work of allegorical fiction. Plato spoke of a group of islands where half men, half gods lived 9000 years before the founding of Ancient Greece, in picture perfect utopia. Despite being a flicker in Plato’s vast body of work it captured the imagination like no other and helped to spawn an entire genre of utopian fiction. The Atlantans were defeated by the Athenians, punished by the Gods and plunged to the bottom of the ocean. Plato used the story as a metaphor to highlight the power of the Republic. As for the Secrets of Atlantis slot you have a game developed by Net Ent that does the simple things rather well. It looks good, with plenty of mermaids and underwater living to meet the demands of the theme and you get Free Spins and Wilds. But the best part of all is the low house edge that is on offer, making this a slot that is providing real value for money.
WMS like their Zeus themed slots, and why not? As Greek gods go, they don’t come much bigger or better than the king of the whole bally lot. However, he didn’t just inherit Mount Olympus, he had to work damn hard and risk plenty to get to the top of the mountain. His father, Kronos was into eating his children for fear that one day they would grow up and seize power from him. Zeus’s mother, Rhea hid her son in a cave to protect him from his vicious father. Zeus would go on to defeat his father and become the king of Gods, a position he held thanks to his high standards of honour and justice. Something that can be put into question when you consider that he married his own sister hand had numerous affairs, often without the consent of the women involved. Zeus III, the slot leaves behind all that controversial stuff and focuses on the godly thunderbolt action. You have a set of reels that is shaped in a very different way to most. You get your Wilds and your Free Spins and you have a slot that is very well designed.
Jason and the Golden Fleece
The Jason and the Golden Fleece slot might be a fair age now but it is one I need to include because the developers at Microgaming did such a good of bringing the story of the Golden Fleece to life through the features that were added to the game. In order to become the king of Iolcus in Thessaly, Jason must retrieve the golden fleece from Chrysomallos, the winged ram. The Argonauts who accompanied Jason were named after the ship that they sailed on, the Argo and are sailors who helped Jason on his perilous journey. On their journey they are attacked by Harpies, lured towards the rocks by haunting sirens and have to follow a dove to safe passage through some perilous rocks. The slot tries its best to embody such a complex plot. You get some standard Free Spins and you get the Golden Fleece feature which takes you further through Jason’s journey each time that you trigger it, each trigger taking you one step closer to the fleece.
Power of the Gods: The Pantheon
The Power of the Gods: The Pantheon slot is the final one on our list, one that was released in 2019 amongst a rising clutch of good slots coming out of the Wazdan stable. It is the perfect place to end as each slot on the list so far has seen us take in a huge slab of Greek Mythology, all ending in the best place imaginable, the Pantheon. OK, so strictly speaking, the Pantheon is in Rome but the Gods mentioned are Greek ones, so we’ll forgive Wazdan and assume they meant to call this slot the Parthenon. The Parthenon was a temple on the Athenian Acropolis, dedicated to the goddess Athena and is one of the best known symbols of Ancient Greece. As for its purpose, it was essentially, a bit like the Empire State Building, a display of wealth and prosperity used to show the rest of the world how powerful Athens had become. The slot comes with different Free Spins games, all with their own features and all triggered in different ways. You also get Wilds and a decent house edge.
It would be ridiculous to think that we could come close to encompassing any more than a small piece of Greek mythology within a list of 10 slot games but I feel that the 10 slots mentioned above have allowed us to take a tour of the ancient world and cherry-pick a few of its highlights. We haven’t, and really should have encountered Pandora on our way, but I suspect it won’t be too long before I get to add a slot based around the magic box to this list at some point in the future. Another assurance is that there will be more quality Greek mythology slots to come and that nothing on here is safe. For now, I am happy with the quality of the slots on offer. However, I am happy to concede that there might be better slots out there I have forgotten or missed, given the sheer volume that exist.
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